Another one of Ann’s minor masterpieces. (Let you in on a secret, they’re as good as they are because she did this for the BBC for many years.) This one’s about William Morris and that setting – the most beautiful stretch of the Thames – where he lived for 18 years. Where he did his art and thinking and literature and weaving and translating and designing – and, into the bargain, was the driving force behind the creation of “an arts and crafts” neighbourhood, a Thameside enclave that was a kind of artistic utopia.
Ann’s produced the podcast as a taster for her upcoming William Morris and Friends walk. A walk along that stretch of the Thames, through that neighbourhood. A walk back into that very special time and place. A time and place where people wrote epic poems while weaving a tapestry and didn’t just think but lived the conviction: “have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.”
It’s an extraordinary tale – and a wonderful walk. An Aladdin’s Cave of riches, ranging from Morris’s “party piece” when he was young: getting the girls to pull him up from the floor by tugging on his curly hair to opining that if a chap can’t write an epic poem while weaving a tapestry he’d better shut up to his providing the cut velvet for the walls of the ill-fated Titanic to his realising he’d had his fill of “ministering to the swinish luxury of the rich.”
Great listen, great walk.